A couple weeks ago, someone on the main road trimmed their bamboo. I sat my children down on their lawn, gave them each a pole to 'fish' with, took off all the side branches with my hand clippers, loaded it all into the passenger side window of my Honda-Civic-plus-two-carseats, and drove it over to the garden a friend is generously sharing with us.
This week, someone else in town cut down a huge pile of huge (HUGE) bamboo stems, each about twenty feet long. One of my new gardening pals and I, over the course of two days, with two small children in tow, sat by the side of the road with our clipper collection, whacked off all the side branches, chopped it into manageable lengths, and loaded it into her truck. Now we have all the bamboo for poles and stakes and trellises and a tipi in her backyard. For free!
(Two people of our acquaintance drove by yesterday while we were doing this and texted my friend, "What ARE you DOING?" Oh, small towns.)
Also, last week, the local grocery store was giving away all the rest of their seeds. For free! And I told some friends and we all got free seeds! (They're remodeling and apparently couldn't be bothered to care.)